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Nassim Talib - Heuristics (via Twitter)

Additional Aphorisms, Rules, and


Heuristics (Added to the Incerto)
NASSIM NICHOLAS TALEB

I Preludes
II Counter Narratives
III Matters Ontological
IV The Sacred and the Profane
V Chance, Success, Happiness, and Stoicism
VI Charming and Less Charming Sucker Probl ems
VII Theseus, or Living the Natural Life
VIII The Republic of Letters
IX The Universal and the Particular
X Fooled by Randomness
XI Aesthetics
XII Ethics
XIII Robustness & (Anti) Fragility
XIV The Ludic Fallacy and Domain Dependence
XV Epistemology and Subtractive Knowledge
XVI The Scandal of Prediction
XVII Being a Philosopher and Managing to Remain One
XVIII Economic Life and Other Very Vulgar Subjects
XIX The Sage, the Weak, and the Magnificent
XX The Implicit and the Explicit
XXI On the Varieties of Love and Nonlove
XXII The End
I 1. People are much less interested in what you are
trying to show them than what you are trying to hide.

I 2. Erudition without bullshit, intellect without


cowardice, courage without imprudence, mathematics
without nerdiness, scholarship without academia,
intelligence without shrewdness, religiosity without
intolerance, elegance without softness, sociality without
dependence, enjoyment without addiction, and, above
all, nothing without skin in the game.
II 3. A government stating "we will not stand idle in
front of atrocities committed by (foreign dictator) XYZ"
is typically trying to mitigate the guilt for standing idle
in front of more atrocities committed by said XYZ.
II 4. Almost all those caught making a logical fallacy
interpret it as a "disagreement".
II 5. France took Algeria, hoping for a country to eat
cassoulet and instead France is now eating couscous.
(Inverse effects).
II 6. If powerful assholes don't find you "arrogant", it
means you are doing something wrong.

II 7. If someone is making an effort to ignore you, he is


not ignoring you.
II 8. In your prayers substitute "protect us from evil"
with "protect us from those who improve things for a
salary".
II 9. Most mistakes get worse when you try to correct
them.
II 10. Much of the difference between what is heaven
and what is hell is branding.

II 11. Never read a book review written by an author


whose books you wouldn't read.
II 12. One of life's machinations is to make some
people both rich and unhappy, that is, jointly fragile
and deprived of hope.
II 13. People don't like it when you ask them for help;
they also feel left out when you don't ask them for
help.
II 14. The dream of having computers behave like
humans is coming true, with the transformation, in a
single generation, of humans into computers.
II 15. The first one who uses "but", has lost the
argument.
II 16. The main reason to go to school is to learn *how
not* to think like a professor.
II 17. The modern hypocrite gives the designation
"respect" to what is nothing but fear of the powerful.
II 18. We invented language to be vague, if you can
sort of see what I mean.

II 19. We tend to define "rude" less by the words used


(what is said) than by the status of the recipient (to
whom it is addressed).
II 20. When someone starts a sentence with the first
half containing "I", "not", and "but", the "not" should
be removed and the "but" replaced with "therefore.

II 21. When someone writes "I dislike you but I agree


with you", I read "I dislike you because I agree with
you."
III 22. Automation makes otherwise pleasant activities
turn into "work".
III 23. For life to be really fun, what you fear should
line up with what you desire.
III 24. If you get easily bored, it means that your BS
detector is functioning properly; if you forget (some)
things, it means that your mind knows how to filter;
and if you feel sadness, it means that you are human.
III 25. It is not possible to have fun when you try.
III 26. Life is about execution rather than purpose.
III 27. The good life -the vita beata - is like reading a
Russian novel: it takes 200 pages of struggling with the
characters before one can start enjoying things. Then
the agitation starts to make sense.
III 28. The ultimate freedom lies in not having to
explain "why" you did something.
III 29. Thinking that all individuals pursue "selfish"
interest is equivalent to assuming that all random
variables have zero covariance.
III 30. We need to feel a little bit lost somewhere,
physically or intellectually, at least once a day.

IV 31. Atheists are just modern versions of religious


fundamentalists: they both take religion too literally.
IV 32. Monotheistic religion isn't so much about telling
man that there is one God, so much preventing man
from thinking that he is God.
IV 33. Paganism is decentralized theology.
IV 34. The ancient Mediterranean : before monotheism,
people changed and exchanged rites and gods as we
do with ethnic food.
V 35. Never hire an A student unless it is to take
exams.
V 36. Business wars are typically lost by both parties,
academic wars are won by both sides.
V 37. Corollary: If you socialize with someone with a
smaller bank account than yours, you are obligated to
converse exactly as if you had the same means, eat in
the places where he eats, at no point in time show the
pictures of your vacation in Provence or anything that
hints at the differential in means.
V 38. Did you notice that collecting art is to hobbypainting as watching pornography is to doing the real
thing? Only difference is status.
V 39. Do not socialize with people much richer than
you; but if you do, do it in your own territory
(restaurants you can afford, wine, etc.)
V 40. I wonder how many people would seek excessive
wealth if it did not carry a measure of status with it.

V 41. In the days of Suetonius, 60% of prominent


educators (grammarians) were slaves. Today the ratio
is 97.1%, and growing.

V 42. It is good to not feel envy; but better to neither


envy nor be envied.
V 43. Success in all endeavors is requires absence of
specific qualities. 1) To succeed in crime requires
absence of empathy, 2) To succeed in banking you
need absence of shame at hiding risks, 3) To succeed
in school requires absence of common sense, 4) To
succeed in economics requires absence of
understanding of probability, risk, or 2nd order effects
and about anything, 5) To succeed in journalism
requires inability to think about matters that have an
infinitesimal small chance of being relevant next
January, ...6) But to succeed in life requires a total
inability to do anything that makes you uncomfortable
when you look at yourself in the mirror.
V 44. The alpha person at a gathering of "high status"
persons is often, detectably, the waiter.
V 45. The natural benefit of a cell phone, laptop, and
other indispensable modern items is the joy one gets
finding the object after losing it. Lose your wallet full of
credit cards and you will have a chance to have a great
day.
V 46. The only way you can ascertain that you are
really rich is if you prefer to drive a slightly beaten
nondescript car, without feeling compelled to let others
know that you are doing it "by choice".
V 47. There is no more unmistakable sign of failure
than that of a middle-aged man boasting of his

successes in college.
V 48. What we commonly call "success" (rewards,
status, recognition, some new metric) is a consolation
prize for those both unhappy and not good at what
they do.
V 49. You can tell how poor someone feels by the
number of times he references "money" in his
conversation.
V 50. You will never know if someone is an asshole
until he becomes rich.
VI 51. All rumors about a public figure are to be
deemed untrue until he threatens to sue.
VI 52. Bureaucracy is a construction designed to
maximize the distance between a decision-maker and
the risks of the decision.
VI 53. Executive programs allow us to watch people
who have never worked lecturing those who have never
pondered.

VI 54. Never get into a business partnership with a


retired lawyer unless he has another hobby.
VI 55. Never show a risk number, even if it is right.
VI 56. People tend to whisper when they say the truth
and raise their voice when they lie.
VI 57. The problem with academics is that they really
think that nonacademics find them more intelligent

than themselves.
VI 58. The rational heuristic is to avoid any market
commentary from anyone who has to work for a living.
VI 59. Under opacity, incomplete information, and
partial understanding, much of what we don't
understand is labeled "irrational".
VI 60. Universities have been progressing from
providing scholarship for a small fee into selling degrees
at a large cost.
VI 61. When people say "I am investing for the long
term", it means they are losing money.
VI 62. The fact that people in countries with cold
weather tend to be harder working, richer, less relaxed,
less amicable, less tolerant of idleness, more
(over)organized and more harried than those in hotter
climates should make us wonder whether wealth is
mere indemnification, and motivation is just
overcompensation, for not having a real life.
VII 63. A good book gets better at the second reading.
A great book at the third. Any book not worth rereading
isn't worth reading.
VII 64. A heuristic on whether you have control of your
life: can you take naps?
VII 65. Fasting: every human should learn to read,
write, respect the weak, take risks in voicing disrespect
for the powerful when warranted, and fast.

VII 66. High Modernity: routine in place of physical


effort, physical effort in place of mental expenditure,

and mental expenditure in place of mental clarity.


VII 67. In real life exams someone gives you an answer
and you have to find the best corresponding questions.
VII 68. It used to take 7 years to figure out if a book is
a book or journalism between covers. Now all one
needs is wait two years. Soon, a few months.
VII 69. Life is about early detection of the reversal point
beyond which your own belongings (say a house,
country house, car, or business) start owning you.
VII 70. Real life (vita beata) is when your choices
correspond to your duties.
VII 71. Some ideas are born as you write then down,
others become dead.
VII 72. The longest book I've ever read was 205 pages.
VII 73. One of the shortest books I've ever read had
745 pages.
VII 74. Formal education is credentials plus negative
knowledge so it sort of works out on balance.
VII 75. It is a curse to have ideas that people
understand only when it is too late.
VII 76.The most important aspect of fasting is that you
feel deep undirected gratitude when you break the fast.
VIII 77. A risk you run when you write a book calling
journalists BS vendors is that all your reviewers will be

BS vendors.
VIII 78. I was told to write medium sized books. Yet of
the two most successful French novels in history: one is
very short (Le Petit Prince, 80 p), other extra long
(Proust's Recherche, 3200 p), following the Arcsine law.

VIII 79. A writer told me "I didn't get anything done


today". Answer: try to do nothing. The best way to
have only good days is to not aim at getting anything
done. Actually almost everything I've written that has
survived was written when I didn't try to get anything
done.
VIII 80. Authors deplete their soul when the marginal
contribution of a new book is smaller than that of the
previous one.
VIII 81. I want to write books that only those who read
them claim they did.
Reply to Bill Easterly who wrote :"A risk you run when
you write a book criticizing experts is that some of your

VIII 82. I wonder why newssuckers don't realize that if


news had the slightest predictive & nonanecdotal value
journalists would be monstrously rich. And if journalists
were really not interested in money they would be
writing literary essays.
VIII 83. If the professor is not capable of giving a class
without preparation, don't attend. People should only
teach what they have learned organically, through
experience and curiosity or get another job.
VIII 84. If you don't feel that you haven't read enough,
you haven't read enough.

VIII 85. Journalists reporting on journalism (such as the


recent New York Times boardroom intrigue) are
involved in an unconscious form of onanism.
VIII 86. Newspapers used to be written by journalists;
they are now written for journalists. (Avalanche of
headlines about the NYT intrigue)
VIII 87.Journalists reporting on journalism (such as the
NYT intrigue) is an unconscious form of onanism.
VIII88. Remove all empty words from writings, resume,
conversation, except when they aim at courtesy.

X 89. God created Monte Carlo and similar places so


extremely rich people would come experience extreme
envy.
X 90. A hotshot is someone temporarily perceived to be
of some importance, rather than perceived to be of
some temporary importance.
X 91. An academic (say Krugman or Piketty) cannot
lose his tenure, but a businessman and risk-taker, poor
or rich can go bankrupt. That is the infuriating
inequality.
X 92. If a pilot crashes a plane, N=1 is not anecdote, if
he doesn't crash the plane, N=100 is anecdote.
X 93. It is very difficult to argue with salaried people
that the simple can be important and the important can
be simple.
X 94. Journalists cannot grasp that what is interesting is
not necessarily important; most cannot even grasp that
what is sensational is not necessarily interesting.

X 95. Never rid anyone of an illusion unless you can


replace it in his mind with another illusion.
X 96. Polemic is a lucrative form of entertainment, as
the media can employ unpaid and fiercely motivated
actors.
X 97. Probability is the intersection of the most rigorous
mathematics and the messiest of life.
X 98. To rephrase, every human should at all times
have equality in probability (which we can control), not
equality in outcome.
X 99. Just as statisticians understand the risks of
roulette sequences better than carpenters, probabilists
understand systemic ecological risks better than
biologists.
X 100. Nitpicking is the unmistakable mark of
cluelessness.

XI 101. A golden saddle on a sick horse makes the


problem feel worse; pomp and slickness in form (TEDconference style) makes absence of substance
nauseating
XI 102. My impression of Las Vegas: mostly prediabetic
men wearing shorts.
XI 103. Since its inception, academia has been
grounded in the idea that knowledge of the chemical
composition of ink will improve one's writing.
XI 104. Studying neurobiology to understand humans is
like studying ink to understand literature.

XI 105. There is nothing more hideous than excessive


refinement (in food, dress, lifestyle, etc.)
XI 106.Silence is only informational if you can speak
skillfully.
XII 107. If we are the only animal with a sense of
justice, it would clearly be because we also are about
the only animal with a sense of cruelty.
XII 108. A good man is warm and respectful towards
the waiter or people of supposedly lower financial and
social condition.
XII 109. A prostitute who sells her body (temporarily) is
vastly more honorable than someone who sells his
opinion for promotion or job tenure.
XII 110. Accept the rationality of time, never its fairness
and morality.
XII 111. Another marker for charlatans: they don't
voice opinions that can get them in trouble.
XII 112. Any action one does with the aim of winning
an award, any award, corrupts to the core.

XII 113. Anything people do, write, or say to enhance


their status beyond what they give others shows like a
mark on their foreheads, visible to others but not to
them.
XII 114. Envy, like thirst for revenge, is the wicked
person's version of our natural sense of injustice.

XII 115. Every angel is an asshole somewhere.


XII 116. Every asshole is an angel somewhere.
XII 117. For an honest man, freedom requires having
no friends; and, one step above, sainthood requires
having no family.
XII 118. For social mobility to work, it needs to be a
two-way highway, with a large number of pre-rich and
an almost as large one of post-rich.
XII 119. I am rather fed up with those who tell me to
be nice & try to convince charlatans. The FBI didn't "try
to convince" the mafia to abandon its activities.
XII 120. It is a great compliment for an honest person
to be mistaken for a crook by a crook.
XII 121. It is easy for others, but not for you, to detect
the asymmetry between what you gain and what you
give by doing, writing or saying.
XII 122. It is quite a predicament to be both evil and
risk averse.
XII 123. It takes a lot of skills to be virtuous without
being boring.
XII 124. Multiplicative generosity: limit your generosity
to those who, in turn, given the circumstances, would
be equally generous towards others.

XII 125. Never buy a product that the owner of the


company that makes it doesn't use, or, in the case of,

say, medication, wouldn't contingently use.


XII 126. Never call someone an imbecile (or fucking
idiot) unless he causes harm to others/system; there
must be a moral dimension to insults.

XII 127. Never take an advice from a salesman, or any


advice that benefits the advice giver.
XII 128. Never trust a journalist unless she's your
mother.
XII 129. People reveal much more about themselves
while lying.
XII 130. Something shoddy: citizenship of convenience,
holding the passport of a country for ease of travel/tax
without committing to its community.
XII 131. Supposedly, if you are
uncompromising/intolerant with BS you lose friends.
But you will also make friends, better friends.
XII 132. The bottom half has been typically screwed by
the middle class. That's the entire story of Rome.
XII 133. Trust those who are greedy for money a
thousand times more than those who are greedy for
credentials.
XII 134. Trust those who trust you and distrust those
who are suspicious of others.

XII 135. Virtue is when the income you wish to show


the tax agency exceeds what you wish to show your
neighbor.
XII 136.Distributive justice isn't taking from a risk taker
who earned honorably, it is keeping his probability of
losing it very high.

XII 137.I feel robbed by those who make money with


no skin in the game (Rubin, Geithner,& bankers) but I
despise attacks on inequality based on envy. [CUT]
XII 138.Your duty is to scream those truths that one
should shout but that are merely whispered.
XIII 139. Failure-proof is achievable; failure-free is not.
[CUT?]
XIII 140. General Principle: the solutions (on balance)
need to be simpler than the problems.
XIII 141. Increasingly, people don't become academics
because of intelligence, rather because of lower grasp
of disorder.
XIII 142. The only valid political system is one that can
handle an imbecile in power without suffering from it.
XIII 143. The problem with the idea of "learning from
one's mistakes" is that most of what people call
mistakes aren't mistakes.
XIII 144. There is this prevailing illusion that debt is a
renewable resource.

XIII 145. To say it bluntly, all the critics of my tail risk


ideas and strategies still work and have to work for a
living.
XIII 146. To understand how something works, figure
out how to break it.
XIII 147. You can expect blowups and explosive errors
in fields where there is a penalty for simplicity.
XIII 148.Competitive academia, sports, and journalism:
persons and groups both vulnerable to reputational
changes and pushed to the limit of their competence,
sitting in a state of insecurity as one single error can
wreck their careers, yet pushed to operate at that
margin owing to the competitive framework. [CUT?]

XIII 149. For a free person, the optimal - most


opportunistic - route between two points should never
be the shortest one.
XIV 150. A lot of what we call work is noise.
XIV 151. A lot of what we call signal is noise.
XIV 152. I recently had a meal in a fancy restaurant
with complicated dishes with fancy names ($125 per
person), then enjoyed a pizza afterwards (straight out
of the oven), $7.95. I wondered why the pizza isn't 20
times the price of the complicated dish, since I'd rather
have the former at any price over the latter.
XIV 153. Just as eating cow-meat doesn't turn you into
a cow, studying philosophy doesn't make you wiser.
XIV 154. Mistakes detected by copy editors are not
likely to be noticed by readers, and vice versa.

XIV 155. Most can't figure out why one can like
rigorous knowledge & despise academics: yet they
understand that one can like food & hate canned tuna.
XIV 156. People like to eat fish by the water even if the
fish was caught far away and transported by trucks.
XIV 157. The saying goes "those who can, do; those
who can't do, teach". But I've shown that those who
can't do shouldn't teach.
XIX 158. a- You are free in inverse proportion to the
number of people to whom you can't say "fuck you". bYou are honorable in proportion to the number of
people to whom you can say "fuck you" with impunity
but don't.
XIX 159. Contra the prevailing belief, "success" isn't
being on top of a hierarchy, it is standing outside all
hierarchies.
XIX 160. I never trust a man who doesn't have
enemies.

XIX 161. If you are only bad-mouthed by people who


prefer your company over those of many others, only
critiqued by those who scrutinize your work, and only
insulted by persons who open your email as soon as
they see it, then you are doing the right thing.
XIX 162. Intellect without balls is like a racecar without
tires.
XIX 163. It is a sign of weakness to avoid showing
signs of weakness.
Or, even better, for those who can, not being aware
of, or not giving a f*** about hierarchy.
XIX 164. It takes some humanity to feel sympathy for

those less fortunate than us; but it takes honor to avoid


envying those who are much luckier.

XIX 165. Risk takers never complain. They do.


XIX 166. Someone said "We need more women in
academic philosophy." But we also need more men in
academic philosophy.
XIX 167. The first, and hardest, step to wisdom: avert
the standard assumption that people know what they
want.
XIX 168. The idea is to be virtuous without being
boring.
XIX 169. To be a person of virtue you need to be
boringly virtuous in every single small action. To be a
person of honor all you need is be honorable in a few
important things (say risk your life or career or
reputation for a just cause, or live up to your word
when nobody else has guts to do so.)
XIX 170. Virtue is sequence of small acts of omission.
Honor and Grandeur can be a single gutsy, momentous,
and self-sacrificial act of commission.

XIX 171. When I die, I want the highest number of


firemen, risk takers, & other real people and the
smallest number of academics to attend my funeral
XIX 172. When you cite some old wisdom-style quote
and add "important truth", "to remember" or
"something to live by", you are not doing so because it
is good, only because it is inapplicable. Had it been
both good and applicable you would not have had to
cite it. Wisdom that is hard to execute isn't really
wisdom.

XIX 173. You are as good as how nice you are to


people you don't have to be nice to.
XIX 174.Magnificence is defined by the intersection of
reluctant praise by your enemies and criticism by your
friends; greatness by their union.
XIX 175.We viciously accept narcissism in nation-states,
while repressing it in individuals: complexity exposes
the system's shaky moral foundations.
XIX176. Be polite, courteous, and gentle, but ignore
comments, praise, and criticism from people you
wouldn't hire.
XV 177. Change anchor to what did not happen rather
than to what did happen.
XV 178. In a conflict, the middle ground is least likely to
be correct.
XV 179. In the medical and social domains, treatment
should never be equivalent to silencing symptoms.
XVII 180. It is perplexing, but amusing to observe
people getting extremely excited about things you don't
care about; it is sinister to watch them ignore things
you believe are fundamental.
XVII 181. A philosopher uses logic without statistics, an
economist uses statistics without logic, a physicist uses
both.

XVII 182. For many people, it takes a lot of preparation


to learn to become ordinary.

XVII 183. If your approach to mathematics is


mechanical not mystical, you're not going to go
anywhere.
XVII 184. Let us find what risks we can measure and
these are the risks we should be taking
XVII 185. Mathematics demands an uncontrolled
hunger for abstraction, philosophy a very controlled
one.
XVII 186. Salaried people are just stepparents. They
can be good stepparents but it never matches the
biological.
XVIII 187. An economist is a mixture of 1) a
businessman without common sense, 2) a physicist
without brain, and 3) a speculator without balls.
XVIII 188. Anyone who likes meetings should be
banned from attending meetings. (Heuristic)
XVIII 189. Being an entrepreneur is an existential, not
just a financial thing.
XVIII 190. Bring the good news in trickles, the bad
news in lumps.
XVIII 191. Financial inequalities are ephemeral, one
crash away from reallocation; inequalities of status and
academic-bureaucratic "elite" are there to stay.
XVIII 192. If something (say, a stock) looks slightly out
of line, it is out of line. If it looks way out of line, you
are wrong in your method of evaluation.

XVIII 193. Money corrupts those who talk (& write)


about it more than those who earn it.

XVIII 194. Never ask your client for advice.


XVIII 195. Never take investment advice from someone
who has to work for a living.
XVIII 196. Saying someone good at making profits but
not good at managing risk is like saying someone is a
great surgeon except for cases when the patients die.
XVIII 197. Three types of large corporations: those
about to go bankrupt, those that are bankrupt and hide
it, those that are bankrupt and don't know it.
XVIII 198. A trader listened to the firm's "chief"
economist's predictions about gold, then lost a bundle.
The trader was asked to leave the firm. He then angrily
asked his boss who was firing him: "Why do you fire
me alone not the economist? He too is responsible for
the loss." The Boss: "You idiot, we are not firing you for
losing money; we are firing you for listening to the
economist."
XVIII 199. Economics is about making simple things
more complicated, mathematics about making
complicated things simpler.
XVIII 200. If you detect a repressed smile on the
salesperson's face, you paid too much for it.
XVIII 201. It is easier to macrobullshit than to
microbullshit.

XVIII 202. Stiglitz understands everything about


economics except for tail risks: like knowing everything
about flight safety except for crashes.
XVIII 203. Those with brains no balls become
mathematicians, those with balls no brains join the
mafia, those with no balls no brains become
economists.
XVIII 204.To have a great day: 1) Smile at a stranger,
2) Surprise someone by saying something unexpectedly
nice, 3) Give some genuine attention to an elderly, 4)
Invite someone who doesn't have many friends for
And those with brains and balls become
artisans/entrepreneurs. coffee, 5) Humiliate an economist, publicly, or create
deep anxiety inside a Harvard professor.

XVIII 205. When positive, show net, when negative,


show gross.
XX 206. A happier world is one in which everyone
realizes that 1) it is not what you tell people, it is how
you say it that makes them feel bad, 2) it is not what
you do to them but how you make them look that gets
them angry, 3) they should be the ones putting
themselves in a specific category.
XX 207. Complaints don't deliver complaints, they
mostly reveal your weakness.
XX 208. If something looks irrational and has been so
for a long time odds are you have a wrong definition
of rationality.
XX 209. If your beard is gray, produce heuristics/advice
but explain the "why". If your beard is white, skip the
why, just say what should be done.

XX 210. People laugh out loud and broadcast their


laughter when they're worried about the statement that
they purportedly find funny. They would smile perhaps surreptitiously -otherwise.
XX 211. Swearing on the occasion, amid rich
vocabulary, is costly signaling that you are self-owned.
XX 212. The general principle of antifragility: it is much
better to do things you cannot explain than explain
things you cannot do.
XX 213. The rules you explain are less convincing that
the ones you don't explain- or have to explain.
XX 214. To insult a barbarian, use his own language:
Cum care carizas, rustice agis cum rustico, barbare
loqueris barbaro ,crasse cum crasso.
XX 215. When you say something you think are just
saying something, but you are largely communicating
why you had to say it.)
XX 216. You can almost certainly extract a "yes" from
someone who says "no" to you, never from someone
who says nothing.

XX 217. Sophisticated is almost always pseudosophisticated.


XX 218. The only people who think that real world
experience doesn't matters are those who never had
real world experience.
XX 219. Welfare is largely money spent on the
nonproductive classes (economists, academicobureaucrats, corporate executives, policymakers empty

suits).
XXI 220. An enemy who becomes a friend will always
be a friend; a friend turned enemy will remain so
forever.
XXI 221. Humans need to complain just as they need to
breathe. Never stop them; just manipulate them by
controlling what they complain about & supply them
with reasons to complain. They will complain but will
be thankful.
XXI 222. Injuries done to us by others tend to be
acute; the self-inflicted ones tend to be chronic.
XXI 223. Journalists feel contempt for those who fear
them and a deep resentment for those who don't.
XXI 224. The ones who refer to you repeatedly as "my
friend" are most likely to betray you.
XXI 225. Used skillfully, a compliment will be much
more offensive than any disparagement.
XXI 226. What counts is not what people say about
you, it is how much energy they spend saying it.
XXI 227. When people call you intelligent it is almost
always because they agree with you. Otherwise they
just call you arrogant.
XXI 228. For most professional researchers, other
people's ideas are like other people's children.

XXI229. We often benefit from harm done to us by


others; almost never from self-inflicted injuries.
XXII 230. The only problem with the last laugh is that
the winner has to laugh alone.
XXII 231. Wisdom isn't about understanding things (&
people); it is knowing what they can do to you.